Right on the heels of the news that female office workers spend 3x more time with their computers than their boyfriends or husbands comes this article from the Daily Mail, which blames Facebook for "friendship addiction." Psychologist David Smallwood claims that women who are recovering from drug, alcohol and shopping dependency shouldn't be on Facebook (or, presumably, MySpace). He thinks that collecting friends is an addiction, saying:
"The problem with Facebook is it's all about acquisition and this is an addictive process. Acquisition of friends is like any other fix but it's competitive — you judge yourself by how many friends you have online. You go out of your way to amass friends and that means people bend out of shape and become something they are not. To appear successful, you go and put yourself in credit card debt by buying clothes and handbags. I see patients who are on Facebook and my response is 'get yourself of it.'"
Smallwood warns that at least 10% of the population is at risk for this kind of "friendship addiction," but doesn't anyone think this is rather alarmist? Sure, some people are all about "collecting" friends on social networking sites, but if you're an addict, you're an addict: Facebook is not to blame. Painting this problem as a women-are-so-needy-and-out-of-control issue is something the Daily Mail does well; but one has to wonder: Why do some people find the need to competitively "collect" "friends"? What's the allure in having a high number of "friends" on Facebook or MySpace? What does it prove? Most people know you don't actually know and hang out with all of those people. Having lots of "friends" can't get you a better job or more money or true love. So seriously: What's the point? Facebook To Blame For 'Friendship Addiction' Among Women [Daily Mail]